First eSports WTCC win for Leaune, big night for Nándori
Kévin Leaune began the second half of the inaugural eSports WTCC season in style with a pole-to-flag victory in race one at the Slovakia Ring on Sunday evening. But a third win for Márk Nándori has cut Alexander Dornieden’s title lead to 23 points and promoted the Hungarian Honda driver to second place in the standings.
Volvo racer takes pole
Frenchman Kévin Leaune made an early impact in qualifying as his opening-lap charge couldn’t be beaten. The Wauters Automotive Volvos of Siggy Rebernak and Gergo Baldi – who took pole at Spa-Francorchamps – lined up second and third ahead of the fastest Honda of Nikodem Wisniewski to make it an all-Volvo top three.
Division 1, race one: Leaune in charge
Leaune’s Slovakia Ring adventure would get even better when he capitalised on his pole position to take an early lead with Baldi demoting Rebernak at the first corner. Leaune quickly gapped the field as Rebernak lost more ground, dropping behind Wisniewski on the opening tour. But Pole Wisniewski couldn't hold firm, suffering a huge moment on lap three when he clipped the grass on the exit of Turn 2. Despite striking a barrier when he lost the rear of his car, damaged was limited and only two positions were lost. Wisniewski’s delay put Rebernak back on the podium, but it didn’t last long when Germany’s Alexander Dornieden demoted the Austrian on lap four. Meanwhile, the battle for the reverse grid pole – awarded to the driver finishing P10 – was shaping up nicely as David Nagy, Norbert Leitner and Slovakia’s Bence Bánki traded positions. But it was Nagy who prevailed, placing P10 behind fellow Hungarians Márk Nándori (eighth) and Norbert Leitner in ninth, while Bánki was forced to settle for P11. Behind winner Leaune, Baldi and Dornieden completed the podium with Rebernak fourth followed by Wisniewski, Jan Stange and Gaetan Goarant.
Division 1, race two: Big win for Nándori
While Leaune’s hopes of a second win were crushed when he out-braked himself into Turn 3 and spun off, Nagy initially made the reverse-grid pole count only for Nándori and Leitner to sneak through. Nagy hit back with an instant re-pass on Leitner who also fell behind Jan Stange. Nagy made more progress a lap later when he demoted Nándori for the lead, as Leitner took third back from Stange. It wasn’t long before Nándori and SDL eSports team-mate Leitner began to hunt down Team VSR’s Nagy, who was seemingly more intent on focusing on his exit speed rather than going defensive into the corners. The approach had worked for several laps before Nándori made his move for the lead into the first corner stick with Leitner following him through. Stange also lost a place with Baldi getting in front. And there was more drama on the final lap when Nándori ran wide exiting Turn 2. Thankfully for him, team-mate Leitner not only didn’t take advantage, he also acted as a line of defence for Nándori, who held on for his third win of the year. Having led for so long, there was more disappointment for Nagy, who fell behind Baldi and Stange on the final lap as Leitner finished second ahead of Baldi and Stange. The fight for sixth was also decided on the last lap. After several instances of contact, Gaetan Goarant prevailed with Rebernak seventh and Dornieden eighth. Adam Pinczes and home driver Bánki rounded out the top 10.
High scoring keeps Baldi in title contention
Dornieden continues to top the eSports WTCC standings but his advantage his been trimmed by 10 points with Nándori climbing up to second, 23 points behind his German rival. Stange drops from second to third with Baldi taking the highest points average in Slovakia. Like Stange, Baldi remains in title contention.
Division 2:Razeyre takes first win
Tommy Razeyre got the better of pole-sitter Alexei Bisson for his first win of the season in his #27 Citroën. After a mistake from Frenchman Bisson later in the race, Stefan Fritsch and Marcel Hohloch were able to slip through and complete the podium.
USA next for eSports WTCC
The leaderboard qualifying for the next round at Sonoma in the USA is underway with the race scheduled for 3 September. To take part in the eSports WTCC championship, clickhere. For a recap of the eSports WTCC action from Slovakia Ring, check out the videohere.